The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense had two faces in 2012.
They were the league’s stingiest run defense, allowing 82.5 yards per game on the ground, while also allowing more passing yards than any other team in the league. The team’s expected to make the secondary a priority in the offseason, which is to be expected. What’s less expected is that they might also be making a big change in their run defense.
Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the team has yet to engage in any “substantive” contract talks with defensive tackle Roy Miller. Miller started 14 of the 15 games he played this season as the Bucs’ “tilted nose” and drew a lot of praise from the coaching staff for both his own play as well as the way he helps open things up for Gerald McCoy.
“I think how Roy has played and how physical he is in the run game has given a chance for … Gerald to get a single block, get off and make plays,” defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said late in the season. “I think Roy has had a very good year. He’s been very disruptive. He’s a guy a lot of times you need to put two blockers on or else he’s got a chance to really knock the center back and get in the backfield.”
It’s early, so there’s plenty of time for the Bucs and Miller to engage in serious discussions. Holder points out that there isn’t much in the way of depth at the position, so Miller’s departure would leave a hole that the Bucs would likely have to fill from outside the organization. After all, fixing the pass defense won’t provide all that much help if the opposition finds they can just run their way down the field on Tampa.